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Big 12 defends call in Iowa State-Texas game

The SportsXchange

Thursday night's Iowa State-Texas game ended in controversy when officials ruled that Longhorns running back Johnathan Gray was down by contact after Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George emerged from a logjam at the goal line with the ball late in the fourth quarter.

Officials reviewed the play and did not find conclusive evidence to overrule the call on the field, and Texas then scored a touchdown that resulted in a 31-30 victory in a Big 12 game in Ames, Iowa.

On Friday, Big 12 supervisor of officials Walt Alderson defending the crew's actions and explained what happened.

"The ruling made on the goal line play was that the runner was down by rule with the ball," Anderson in the statement. "Because of that ruling, instant replay is allowed to review the play, which it did. Had the ruling on the field been forward progress, the play would not be reviewable because the goal line was not involved. The replay official looked at all five views available for this play: line feed, goal line cart, press box angle, sky cam and opposite end zone camera. He correctly determined there was no indisputable video evidence to confirm that either the ruling on the field was correct, or that the ball was loose prior to the runner being down. By rule, when there is not indisputable video evidence to confirm or change the call on the field, the ruling stands.

"On this play, the covering official ruled the runner was down and still had control of the ball. There is no question the runner ends up on the ground, and there is no question that eventually an Iowa State player ends up with the ball. However, after reviewing the video evidence, it is impossible to tell with certainty when the runner loses control of the ball and at that point was he down or not.

"The conference would acknowledge in this unique situation if a mistake were made, but we do not have the video evidence to prove that one occurred."

Iowa State coach Paul Rhodes expressed his emotions to reporters after the game.

"To make a play on the 1-yard line with our backs against the wall ... and to have it taken away from them, that's hard to express," Rhodes said, his voice rising. "You don't just put an arm around a guy and tell him it's OK when that happens to him. I've got pretty good eyesight. The view I had of that gigantic screen in the north end zone showed a guy that was not down and our guy with the football."
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